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Common employee benefits questions employers are Googling

Doug Rice
Doug leads the employee benefits consultancy team at Jelf, specifically focusing on meeting the rising demand for effective UK and international employee benefits management programmes. In addition, he heads up the international Mercer Marsh Benefits team and is Chair of the Jelf & MMB joint venture. Doug has over 20 years’ experience in the employee benefits sector, having previously worked for Medic4all, Cigna and Bupa.

Your employees are your most important asset. Designing and engaging your staff in an employee benefits strategy that works for both your company and your employees needs to be a priority. But where do you start?

That’s why we’ve answered some of the common employee benefits questions that employers are googling.

What are employee benefits?

Employee benefits, often referred to as “fringe benefits” are extra incentives that employers can provide in addition to an employees’ normal salary. They’re designed to help promote employee wellbeing and motivation, and can include anything from dental insurance and critical illness cover, to flexible working hours and childcare vouchers.
The right benefits reward programme can help you to:

Why do employers provide employee benefits?

From the young recruit saving for their first house, to the employee with over 20 years’ service nearing retirement, you need to look out for all of your staff. Salaries and pensions give stability, but if you have an employee benefit offering that speaks to people as individuals, you’re on to a winner. Offering access to a wider range of benefits allows you to support your employees’ needs and the things that are most important to them, and say “we want you to be happy in and out of work”.

How do employee benefits work?

There are some employee benefits that are required by law. All UK workers are entitled to receive a holiday allowance and, following the introduction of Auto Enrolment, a workplace pension. However, employee benefits are more than just a salary and a pension. They can help you to encourage employee wellbeing, improve your company culture and increase the amount of quality applicants you get for vacancies.

Employee benefits packages allow you to express yourself as a business to your staff. It’s about you saying who you are and why you care about what you do. By wanting people to be happy and healthy in the workplace, you are letting them know you care about them.

How can I create an employee benefits reward plan?

As an employer you hold huge amounts of employee data. You know when someone joins your organisation, receives a pay rise, has children, turns 50 years old and so on. This data can help you to segment your employee population and design an employee benefits strategy that will resonate with each and every employee.

Research shows that the largest factor influencing employees’ perception of benefits is convenience, with 68% of employees wanting to access all of their benefits from one single place.1 Providing a complete view of their benefits and rewards can help your employees to make better informed decisions about their benefits to take care of their physical, emotional and financial wellness.

Total reward statements and regular communications can also help your employees to see and value your investment in their benefits resulting in an engaged and motivated workforce. And a more motivated and engaged workforce equals a more productive business.

What are the best benefits to offer employees?

Your employees will all be on a career journey and depending on where they are, they will value different benefits. Understanding that journey and the employee benefits that can support them, will help to drive engagement and productivity. For example, a Generation X employee will often value security. So group life insurance or income protection that provides peace of mind that they, or their dependants, will be taken care of should appeal to them.

What are the benefits of employee engagement?

72% of employees cite “engagement” as a top priority when choosing where to work and a more engaged workforce equals a more productive workforce.2

 In fact, staff turnover is 87% less and people take fewer sick days at businesses with engaged employees, meaning less money spent on recruitment and less time lost through absence.3

How much are employee benefits worth?

Employees can often undervalue and underestimate the amount their employer spends on their benefits. Regular communications with your staff can not only raise awareness of the benefits available, but also educate your workforce on how these benefits can help them. Total reward statements that clearly assign a monetary value to each individual can help your employees to calculate and value your investment in their overall benefits package.

How much will employee benefits cost?

There is a common misconception amongst employers that employee benefits are very expensive. The range of available benefits to choose from is huge and clearly there are costs involved, but they needn’t all cost the earth. In fact, group life insurance typically costs less than 0.5% of payroll.

Some packages are likely to be must-haves, others will be desirable but not essential and others may come with such a low cost, including them could be something of a no-brainer. The three key elements to bear in mind are when and how they’re likely to be used, any tax considerations and the overall cost.

How do I know if my employee benefits are working?

Less than 20% of employers measure the impact of benefits on employee wellness1 – those who do, and do it digitally, are almost as twice as effective in meeting their engagement objectives.

The data you can access through using a benefit management system can tell you a lot about your business. You can use this to tailor benefits packages to the habits and needs of your staff to make your reward programme even more cost effective and engaging.


1Thomsons Online Benefits, UK Employee Benefits Watch 2016/17
2Employee Benefits, The Benefits Research 2017
3Mercer, Why good health is good business

Marketing communication FP18.621

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